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Credit card protection involves several basic steps, including never giving out the number to anyone without making sure they are legitimate and not leaving your card laying around where it can easily be stolen. Donít loan out your card and donít forget to sign the back of it. Although not as popular, pre-paid credit cards are one of the best ways of protecting yourself. Since these type cards are pre-loaded with a set amount, if they are stolen or lost, the amount of damage is also limited. Of course, technically youíre spending your own money on a pre-paid credit card, so thereís no interest to pay either.

Credit card protection is also increased with the following strategies: Next to your signature on the back of your credit card, put the letters CID, which stands for ďSEE ID.Ē When a merchant sees this, they will ask to see your identification, rather than just verifying your signature on the receipt.

Never use your credit card on an unsecured website when shopping online. All secured websites will have a small lock in the lower right corner of the page, or in the status bar for the page. If the lock doesnít appear - do not use your credit card because the site is not secure. Period.

Keep your credit card within your sight - whenever possible. In some places, especially restaurants, the waiter or waitress takes your card away to authorize it for transaction. This is a very common practice, but whenever the card is out of your sight is when itís vulnerable to fraud. The card can be swiped through a card reader that stores information from the magnetic strip for criminals to use to create a duplicate card later.

If you ever notice a merchant has swiped your card twice in the card reader - ask them why.

Only carry the card you intend to use that day. If you carry multiple cards and your purse or wallet is stolen, you also lose all your credit cards. Itís better to only use one card, but if you have multiple cards, leave any card you wonít be using at home.

Cell phones are very commonplace in todayís world. So much so, that many people forget that everyone around them can listen in on their phone conversations. Therefore, get into the habit of not giving out your credit card number while youíre on the phone, or if thatís not possible, make sure no one is around when you do. Wait until you are at home, inside your car or some other private place.


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